I have found that since I went raw, the one question everyone asks me is: “But don’t you miss *insert dessert/burger/chocolate here*?!”, and my answer invariably is no. And why would I? There are very few desserts (that I have found!) that you can’t make a really scrumptious (and healthy!) raw version of. Crème Brûlée seems like one of those desserts that might just be the exception to this rule, as it is typically made with eggs, full-fat milk, double creme and refined sugar; all ingredients that would send a vegan running! However, after a weekend spent in my kitchen, and multiple disasters later, I think this raw salted date caramel Crème Brûlée, topped with caramelised coconut sugar, tastes and has the texture of a traditional Crème Brûlée, and as an added bonus, it is a thousand times easier to make!
There’s a generous layer of salted, Medjool date caramel, cover with a thick, creamy layer of vanilla creme, topped with a truly decadent layer of crunchy, caramelised coconut sugar. Oh baby! These little pots are dangerously good.
I was recently extremely honoured to be asked to be a contributing chef for an amazing company called Coconut Merchant: a company who wants to honour the spirit of the merchants of old, who braved obstacles and oceans to share the new wonders of the coconut, by sharing the new and wonderful ways of the coconut with us all. And let me tell you, their stuff is most definitely wonderful! They sell sweet, baked coconut chips that are out of this world; I would hand on heart say they are some of the most delicious things I have ever tasted in my life (including these Crème Brûlée too of course..!)
I absolutely love anything coconut related, it really is my favourite food thing in the world, (with peanut butter coming in close behind in second place!), firstly because it tastes delicious, and secondly because you can squeeze an incredible amount of different products out of one of those nutty wonders. I was looking at the ingredients of all the products below, and there was only one thing listed: 100% coconut. How is this kind of sorcery possible?! Coconut Merchant are also fabulous because they offer top quality coconut oil in beautiful, huge 1L jars, which is perfect for people like me who use coconut oil for absolutely EVERYTHING; cooking, moisturising skin, conditioning hair, facial cleanser, tooth whitener, deoderant- the list is endless.
I thought a Crème Brûlée isn’t really a Crème Brûlée without a caramelised, crunchy topping, so I got out my little blow torch and gave it a whirl, and the result was a surprisingly realistic Crème Brûlée sugar coating. Admittedly, coconut sugar has a tendency to set alight a little more often refined sugar (hence the little black spots on top of my pots!), but if it starts to flame, just blow it out and continue torching. If you want to be virtuous, you can just leave the coconut sugar raw to make this dessert fully raw, but how could you possibly resist that treacly, slightly burnt, crunchy sugar?!
I think we can all agree that the one below looks far more appetising; case closed. And at least it’s coconut sugar, which has a much lower GI, and doesn’t spike your blood sugar.
As if this dessert wasn’t decadent enough with a sugary, dreamy top layer, theres heaps of oh-so thick, but oh-so creamy vanilla cream, with a cheeky little layer of raw salted date caramel below to add a little extra sweetness to the creamy layer, and because salted caramel makes everything better. The cream layer is quite dense, sort of on the cheesecakey side, because I prefer a firmer custard layer, but feel free to leave out the coconut oil if you would like it to be a bit more mousse like.
That is a spoonful of heaven right there. And this raw salted caramel creme brulee is both quick (bar the overnight cashew soaking) and simple, yet surprisingly impressive and delicious.
- 10 Medjool dates (pitted)
- 2 Tbsp coconut syrup (can substitute with other liquid sweetener)
- 1 large Tbsp almond butter
- ⅛ cup (30ml) water (you may need less if you have a Vitamix/Blendtec)
- ½ tsp Himalayan or Sea Salt
- 2 cups cashews (soaked overnight)
- 5-6 Tbsp maple syrup
- 4 Tbsp liquid coconut butter
- 2 Tbsp liquid coconut oil (optional; if you prefer a thicker texture)
- 1.5 tsp vanilla bean paste
- ¼ cup (60ml) nut milk (I used almond)
- Approx. 1 large Tbsp coconut sugar per pot
- Remove the pits from the dates. If your blender is not particularly powerful, you can soak your dates for roughly an hour before using.
- Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until everything has combined. Depending on your blender, you may get a really smooth caramel, or it may be slightly lumpy in appearance, but the lumps are delicious!
- Place roughly 2 large tablespoons in the bottom of each ramekin, and smooth the mixture until it covers the bottom.
- Place the ramekins in the fridge whilst you make the custard.
- Drain the cashews.
- Place all ingredients EXCEPT the water in a blender and blend until the mixture turns smooth and creamy. Add more almond milk if needed.
- Taste the mixture, and adjust the maple syrup to your taste.
- Pour the mixture into the ramekins, and place in the freezer for 30-40 minutes to allow them to firm up.
- Once firm, remove from the freezer and place in the fridge until they are ready to be eaten.
- Before serving, cover the top of each crème brûlée with a layer of coconut sugar, then using a kitchen blow torch, heat the coconut sugar until it melts and forms a hard, sugary crust. You need to keep the flame moving so that you don't burn the sugar. I found that the coconut sugar had a tendency to burst into flames; if this happens blow out the little flame, and continue blow torching, it won't affect the taste!
If you want to know more about the ingredients used in this recipe, please visit my ‘Raw Pantry’ page!